Paid family leave, which tops the agenda of next Monday's White House Summit on Working Families, and which was discussed at Tuesday's CNN town hall with Hillary Clinton, is a good idea whose time has come -- and gone. And come. And gone.
Asked whether paid maternity leave should be mandated by law, Clinton said "eventually, it should be, but, right now, we're seeing some -- some very good proposals being implemented in other parts of the country, so that we have answers."
Efforts to pass paid maternity leave in the United States stretch back to at least 1919. In the intervening years, as most other countries have guaranteed income for new mothers taking time off and many have also covered new fathers and those caring for seriously ill family members, we've learned much about the specific ways paid leave helps babies, parents and entire families.
So why don't we have a law requiring paid leave yet? At virtually every juncture, its benefits have been overshadowed by a single powerful argument: that paid leave is bad for business.
But is it? As a journalist and researcher, I set about trying to answer that question over the past year by looking to one of those states that have passed their own paid family leave proposals.